HMRC have issued a press release announcing that 30 new taskforces to crack down on tax dodgers will be launched in 2012/13.

The taskforces will target specific business sectors in specific locations where there is evidence of tax evasion. The likely targets include:
• the rag trade
• the motor trade
• indoor and outdoor markets.

HMRC expects to collect over £50m as a result of 12 taskforces launched in 2011/12 and, with 13 criminal investigations under way, this figure is set to rise. 

HMRC will also extend some of the taskforces from 2011 to different locations, including the scrap metal taskforce launched in Scotland in November. Compliance activity through taskforces targets the highest-risk cases in that sector and location, typically focusing on groups of up to around 600 customers in specific locations. 

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said “The Government is committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance. HMRC’s taskforces are cracking down on people who choose to break the rules and creating a level playing field for the majority who play by them”. 

HMRC’s Director of Local Compliance, Richard Summersgill, added “Taskforces only target people who are at high risk of breaking the rules and don’t pay the tax they owe. We know we’re going after the right people – some taskforces have hit rates of 100 per cent so far. “Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted. If you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down, and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

Taskforces come as a result of the Government’s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.

Full details on all 2012/13 taskforces will be announced later in the year. 

HMRC have also published the table below showing current activity and results to date.

 Taskforce  Launch date  Results
 London restaurants May 2011  Expected yield: £5m

A large number of cases being worked have identified significant levels of sales suppression using varying investigative techniques.
 

 North West restaurants May 2011 Expected yield: £4.5m

Three cases adopted by Criminal Investigations
 

 Scotland restaurants June 2011 Expected yield: £4m

Four cases adopted by Criminal Investigations
 

 London fast food franchise July 2011 Total yield to date: £10m Further £8m expected

100 per cent hit rate – with the average c£190k per business.
 

 London fraudulent repayments Nov 2011 Expected yield: £4.5m

Three cases adopted by Criminal Investigations
 

 North West landlords Nov 2011 Expected to find a high proportion of ghosts and refer for criminal/civil action.

Three cases adopted by Criminal Investigations.
 

 North West construction Nov 2011 Yield expected: £3m
 Scotland scrap metal Nov 2011 Yield expected: £3m
 Scotland hot food takeaway Nov 2011 Yield expected £6m

Indicators show evasion by 75 per cent in the selected population
 

 London – property transactions Launched in Dec 2011 Yield expectation £7M
 South East Overdue Returns Launched Nov 2011 Yield expectation £2.5M

For any further information on any of the issues outlined in this piece, please call the Advice Service on 01455 852555.